PBS Kids Play Virtual World

US broadcast network PBS is making its own play for the virtual worlds market with something called PBS Kids Play, which has just launched in beta. It’s aimed at a younger age group than any of its rivals though, targeting 3-6 year-olds with games and activities designed to tie in with the early childhood curriculum. Included subjects are maths, science, language, literacy, creativity, healthy development and social studies.

The world will be stocked by characters from popular PBS TV shows, including Curious George and The Berenstain Bears. Each user gets their own room to customise, while also saving and editing their creative projects. Parents are provided with a progress chart to see what their child has been up to in each core area, and there’s a recommendations engine built in to constantly suggest new activities, based on what the child has been doing. Meanwhile, there’s a Flash player built into the PBS Kids Play application, which streams selected episodes of PBS shows.

It’ll cost $9.95 a month when it launches officially, or $79.95 for a yearly subscription.

Virtual Worlds Forum Blog » Blog Archive » PBS launches beta of Kids Play virtual world

First, it’s a download.  I have not downloaded it yet, but once I do, I’ll add to this post.

From what I can see on the outside– it’s jam packed with education + fun… staple diet for PBS, who seems to have found the right cord connecting the two.

According to the site’s elevator pitch:

PBS KIDS PLAY! is a personalized learning service for children 3 to 6. With PLAY!, your child will learn a comprehensive preschool and kindergarten curriculum, based on national educational standards, by playing with PBS KIDS characters. The all-new games and activities in PLAY! adjust based on your child’s individual learning achievements. You can see the results as your child advances through the curriculum and unlocks exciting new challenges… Ding!

http://pbskidsplay.org/pages/faq/#1

Here are some other gems, according to their FAQ section:

Game play:

We’ve designed PBS KIDS PLAY! so that children of ages 3 to 6 are able to play independently, to the extent that is possible with young children. Our goal is to help children to gain confidence with the computer and with the curriculum. However, each child may have different abilities and needs, so the only way to really evaluate this is to try it! Also consider using the “Take a Break” feature (built into PLAY!), which helps you better monitor your child’s computer use.

I will post more later.  I don’t think they have community– which kinda turns the whole idea of “virtual world” on it’s head a bit.

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